“When I first moved to the Arctic I have to admit that I was afraid of the dark, but then I saw another side of it. The beauty of the arctic night. I got to the top of a couloir deep in the dark season and stood in awe. The dark is different here. The reflection of the moonlight from the snow and the glow of the northern lights all around”. – Melissa Brandner
This was an experience that i wanted to share with the world, the stigma that the winters in the arctic are harsh and cold and dark, wasn’t completely true, there was a beauty to them. It wasn’t just the stigma of the polar night that we wanted to remove with this film However… Personal traumatic experiences, the difficulty of coping with mental health and the huge stigma associated with it felt synonymous with the polar night. When I go freeriding in the polar night, it is more challenging, complex and difficult but when you get to the top of a line with the northern lights overhead and you’ve overcome the difficulty of being there it is amazing. As long as you have the right toolkit going out in the polar night is no difficult to in daylight. With mental health and difficulties it is the same. With the right support when you get through these challenges you see things differently and are stronger because of it.
Researching darkness opened our eyes to the complexity of the word and how everyone sees it differenlty. We chose a team of splitboarders, some of whom had lived in the darkness their whole lives (Eirik Verlo, Krister Kopala) some partially (Melissa Brandner 6 years) and some were visitors (Manuela Mandl, Hampus Cederholm) that have a broad spectrum of physical and mental experiences with darkness.
This film not only shares our passions with the world in the hope to inspire others into freeriding, but also our personal experiences in the hope that we can get one step closer to removing the stigma associated with mental health. Increase the research and awareness of head injuries in extreme sports.